Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Garland

Want your house to scream Merry Christmas without running up the electricity bill or supergluing reindeer to the roof? Express yourself with these easy-to-make quilted holiday letters. In a few minutes you can add a festive touch to any mantle or, if you haven't got one (and, honestly, who has a mantle these days...?!), give that less-than-Noble Fir a voice by attaching some pom-poms and hanging these letters as ornaments on your Christmas tree. But don't stop at Christmas. This project's technique can be used anytime. Whether announcing a party or decorating a child's room, let your style speak with this easy to-do, and impossible to ignore, anytime garland. 

Step 1:  Iron double-sided Wonder-Under to quilted fabric.

Step 2:  Iron parchment paper to the wrong-side of patterned fabric and trace 3 1/4 inch letters on the parchment paper.    Make sure the letters are backwards so the letter appear forward on the garland.
Step 3:  Cut out letters and peel off the parchment paper.

Step 3:  Lay out letters leaving a little bit of room between them.  Sew around letters using a straight-stitch and going slowly.

Step 4:  Cut out letters and sew to a 1/2 inch ribbon spacing evenly on garland.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reinvent Christmas!

If you have extra fabric and trim lying around, use it to wrap presents.  I hot glued the fabric to the boxes to make sure they didn't move about, but they could also be taped with strong double stick tape.  The fabric can be reused for all sorts of things.
I'm not a great knitter but the woman who made this sweater from Goodwill was!  I took it and was able to make two big stockings from it just one sweater just by tracing a stocking I had and sewing up the sides.  There was also enough knit left to cover one of my holiday houses in the UCLA Commons Window.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

Hand-shaped ornaments painted and on the tree

Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Pre-painted baked cookies
First coat of paint
Salt Dough Ornaments are a simple, inexpensive and beautiful addition to any Christmas tree, not to mention a great project to do with the kids.  I got my son involved in the painting of them, and our tree has never looked the same!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Baking sheets
  • Acrylic paints, glitter glue brushes.
1.  Combine ingredients by hand, knead until well blended and wrap tightly with plastic so dough does not dry out.  Take only the portion you are using out at a time.  If it gets dry add a little water or, if too wet, add flour.
2.  Shape either by hand or with cookie cutters.  I tried both and really liked the way both turned out (although using cookie cutters was much faster).  Poke holes at the top of the ornaments.  Keep in mind they shrink a little when baked.
3. Bake for 8 hours at 200 degrees to completely dry out.
4.  When completely cool, paint with acrylic paints, thread ribbons through the holes and that's it! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Girls D.I.Y. Class

Another session of my D.I.Y. class at UCLA Family Commons has just wrapped and I wanted to share the adorable projects my students made with everyone!
Colorful, cute, and one of a kind Sculpey necklace.  

"Sparkles on a Half Shell" project from my second book Beadalicious!

And Soapsicles!  Soap in popsicle molds.  They had a great time mixing the colors.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holiday Snow Village Window

Happy Holidays! I made this winter wonderland for the UCLA Family Commons window, and it was the most fun I've had doing display in a long time!  Scrap ribbon, felt, buttons, shrunken old sweaters, sequins, and odds and ends...oh my! What a great excuse to go digging through all the little bits I've squirreled away all these years.  I'm so glad I'm such a pack rat.  I found awesome trim that I didn't even know I had (made of wood bits and beads... see bottom right blue house).  The houses are made of cardboard templates that I found online.  I cut the roofs out of wood (with a hack saw) and stained them with a rag, then cut a paper template of the front of the house that just wrapped a little around the back (since the back is unseen), and used that as a guide to cut the sweaters the correct size.  (I didn't want to waste my precious shrunken sweaters on the back that wouldn't show...I mean, duh!).  All the trim is hot glued in place.  The buttons I sewed because when it comes to little details I think people actually notice the personal touch, like thread in the button holes.

As for the snowflakes,  I sewed them together with a sewing machine.  It's important to use a machine that has a top-loading thimble when sewing paper so that it doesn't get jammed.  It doesn't take too long once the snowflakes are cut out- there are 20 on a strand, and about 20 strands total, so it took many many snowflakes- but only took a few hours to sew them together.   The window decals are from the Winter Wonderland Cartridge cut with my Cricut.  This machine is so key for all the window decals!  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Haunted House

A skeleton butler with glow sticks greeted guests.  Purchased at
Spider webs lined a dark hallway, gummy spiders dangled from the web in strategic places and plastic cockroaches were strewn across the floor.  I found this Hillary Clinton mask at the 99 cents store, stuck it  on a pole, added some cardboard tubes for shape, and draped fabric around it to form a body.
Death by reading is what happened to this poor old soul!  It's hard to see his bulging glow in the dark eyes.  Again, I used a rubber mask and a head form on top of bags of fabric.
Three styrofoam balls attached by toothpicks where draped with fabric to make ghosts.  I hung them by fishing line by wrapping the line around the center of the round ball, taping it in place, then running the fishing line through the top of the fabric "head" of the ghost.
See the spooky ghosts on the left!  I left the ladder up and made it  a feature.  The best thing about the haunted house was the table scape that had lots of candles, dry ice in the glasses, and cobwebs and spiders all over it.  I forgot to take a picture- still kicking myself!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grippy's Birthday Party

Favors included beads, pom poms, a key chain, and some fabric.  My friends are so creative, I'm interested to see what they will make of it all.
Of course, there was a crafty station for safari hats, masks, and headbands for the kids.
For the living room, I made a simple construction paper banner with a 5x7 pad of construction paper, making each letter the size of one page and some string and tape.
This simple banner I made with the Cricut cutting out each individual letter, 3 1/4" cardboard circles, then gluing the letters to the circles and taping them to string.
I had a sheet of 12 round 2 1/2" sugar labels printed at Gloria's Cake Supply.  The sheets are $10.95 each and must be warmed over a toaster over so the sugar lifts off easily.  I botched a few learning how to get them off.  
Simple logo cupcake flags, and grass border to go with the hint of a safari theme.

No Venice birthday party is complete without a jumpy house!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back to School Window at UCLA Commons

Book tree made out of books curled  on top of one another held together by 3 inch drywall screws and L-bracketed to a plywood stand.  The background is book covers shingled over a canvas.
Plywood frame supporting books from behind.  My good friend Miriam helping me.

Javiera reattaching the canvas after it fell down due to heaviness.  Thank goodness for Javiera's core fusion classes.

I wanted to make a tree made out of books for the back to school window and received a generous donation of books from my friend Karen at the Sherman Oaks Library.  It was a simple but pretty labor intensive project.  I have great friends that helped me with it or I would have been toast!

Here is the how-to:

What you need:

Lots and lots of books
Plywood base- mine was 3/4 inch thick and measured 3x4 feet
Plywood support for the books- a 2x4 that was about 5 feet tall backing another 3/4 inch thick piece of plywood that measured  inches 10 x 8 feet tall.
2.5 - 3 inch dry wall screws (lots and lots)
15-20 smallish L brackets
1 sheet of chicken wire
Scissors to cut leaf shapes with 
Hot glue gun to attach leaves to chicken wire
Gold foil to make gold accent leaves with (available online)


1.  Build frame for the tree.  It was simply the 2x4 drilled into the 10 foot 3/4 inch plywood attached with L brackets to the 3/4 inch base.  Couldn't be easier.

2.  Remove covers from the books and roll pages over and under making pretty waves with the pages.  Drill the first book into the plywood.  Stack the next book on top and drill it next to the first book. Drill as many books next to the first two as you want the base to be wide then start building the books upwards snug on the frame.  Add L brackets every 4 or 5 books depending on how stable they feel up against the platform.

3.  Make a giant chicken wire ball at the top of the wooden stand.

4.  Cut pages of  2 books into leaf shapes then hot glue leaves onto chicken wire.

For the back drop:

1.  Take a canvas and using hot glue shingle book covers (tearing the spines out) over one another so that the tops of the spine don't show.  

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Silk screening with the Mayor at UCLA Commons

The Mayor of Santa Monica Bobby Shriver came to our DIY clothing class at the Commons!  The girls were so excited to meet the Mayor and he was especially impressed with my Platypus Lovers design!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gold Notes on Vibe Magazine Cover

These gold notes were a quick job that I almost didn't take.   I only had a 24 hour turn around so I had to figure out quickly how to make notes that looked like metal.  I used my Cricut and the Hannah Montana cartridge to cut chipboard into musical note shapes then layered several layers of cardboard using spray mount to glue them together.  After that I dipped them in resin and let them dry over night. In the morning I painted them with Montana Gold spray paint.  I've never used Montana spray paints before but the thickness and density of the gold color was quite impressive.  In the end they looked like metal although it might have been easier to make them out of clay.  I think these would make great Christmas tree ornaments and that is probably what the ones in the photo will become now that they are back in my posession!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Baby Sign Cards

This is my latest published project- Baby Sign Cards for UCLA Commons Bookstore.  There are 44 signs total all using clay figurines to express the signs.  I used Sculpey clay baking the bodies but leaving the arms unbaked so I could move them to make the different signs.  So much fun to make and design their little outfits and shoes.  I even made one look like my husband Chris!  The best part was painting their eyes.  My friend Jess Begum taught me how to make the eyes really come alive with this technique that I will remember every time I need to paint eyes in the future.  The set retails for $15.95 at the store 1221 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Phoebe and Rob's Sign

Phoebe and Rob had the loveliest lakeside wedding at the Migis Lodge in Maine.  It couldn't have been more perfect down to thunder clouds parting an hour before the wedding.  One of the bride's wishes was to have a sign with her and Rob's name on it made out of the woodsy elements from the property.  There were stacks of firewood for guests all over so it was easy to gather the elements we needed and make the sign.  Here is the how to:

What You Need:

  • 1/2 inch thick pine board, this one is 12" tall by 3 1/2 feet wide
  • Wood stain and cloth
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wood chisel 
  • Hammer
  • Pine bark, birch bark, pine cones

1.  Stain the board and let dry.

2.  Gather up bark from pine trees and birch trees.  A little goes a long way.  We got so much in a matter of minutes and had enough extra to make another sign that said something else.  

3.  Plan out where the letters are going, make a mark at the top of each letter, but don't write out the letters because sometimes the bark won't follow the curves that easily and your pencil line will show so just make spacing marks.

4.  Using the chisel and a hammer, split the pine bark into thinner strips.  The birch bark is easy enough to tear but the pine is a little tough to get thin so a chisel really helps.

5.  Hot glue the pieces of wood in place and voila!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Photos from Signature Styles

I am so lucky to have been chosen as a featured artist in one of  Jenny Doh's upcoming book projects called Signature Styles.  Featuring 25 Crafters, a look into their studios, and a project just for the book.  Deborah Jaffe the infamous photographer who has shot for such big names as Martha Stewart and In Style Magazine shot it for me and did an amazing job.  Here is a sneak peek at the studio!